El Al CEO demands "dramatic improvement in punctuality"

El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin Photo: Sivan Faraj

Gonen Usishkin has told employees: This month, we were in 34th place among 42 airlines. This is not the place we want and need to be.

El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) president and CEO Gonen Usishkin sent a letter to company employees yesterday explaining that, "immediate action to improve commercial results" was necessary.

The letter explains, "In the previous letter I sent you, I informed you of the challenging results in the financial statements for the first quarter of 2018. As time passes, our need to step up the pace of change and take immediate action is becoming clearer… all the company's employees must take part in this effort."

Usishkin also explains the cancelation of the merger between Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. and El Al. "The acquisition of Israir could have had advantages for both companies, but we will devote our efforts to strengthening the company's growth engines, continuing the streamlining plan, and putting special emphasis on our core business. We will do this while at the same time steeply improving our operational excellence, which is a basic condition for our ability to successfully meet the challenges - above all the competition in the aviation market."

Usishkin is also asking El Al's personnel for a dramatic improvement in operational punctuality in preparation for the summer season and the High Holy Days. "This month, we were in 34th place among 42 airlines. This is not the place we want and need to be. The customer expects to leave on time and arrive safely and on time, while receiving a conscientious service experience."

Continued disruptions

In practice, however, El Al's passengers have received experienced cancelations and delays. Following the recent wave of cancelations - five flights were canceled on the route to Boston and one flight on yesterday's flight to Beijing and Hong Kong, El Al passengers suffered a 4.5-hour delay on a flight from Luton Airport in London scheduled for an 11:30 PM takeoff that actually off took after 3:15 AM due to a delay in the takeoff of the outgoing flight from Ben Gurion Airport plus an additional delay of a few hours.

Passengers received no prior notice of the delay, which was known in advance, and had to wait many hours at the remote airport in Luton without an El Al representative being present other than a security person unrelated to the company. After checking in, each passenger received a coupon for £10 of food, but there were almost no restaurants available at the airport at that time.

Passengers on the flight told "Globes" that the airplane was old and crowded and lacked personal screens for each passenger. Neither the pilot nor the crew gave any explanation of the delay, let alone an apology or service gesture to help digest the bitter pill.

In any case, El Al is now saying that the flight was delayed for operational reasons. As for the CEO's letter, El Al stated, "We conduct our labor relations through a dialogue with the employees, not through the media."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 21, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin Photo: Sivan Faraj
El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin Photo: Sivan Faraj
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